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  • Paul Fennemore 11:22 on August 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , social media analytics, , social media monitoring, social media networks, social media tools, ,   

    Navigating the world of social media monitoring tools 

    If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it! 

    This may be an old business saying, but is has never been more pertinent when it comes to social media.

    It is possible to track and trace in real-time any digital communication if it’s in the public domain.  Social media has of course created an explosion of trackable online and public dialogue.

    Herein lays an amazing opportunity to gain an endless amount of market and consumer insight and intelligence. But herein also lays considerable new challenges for marketers.

    The technology is not the issue

    In response to the anticipated market opportunity for monitoring and analysing what consumers are saying on social media there has is a  plethora of software tools developed that can perform these tasks.

    A colleague dedicated over a year to the creation of a taxonomy and guide summing up the main features, functions and benefits of a remarkable 250 different tools. This report is available from  http://ideya.eu.com/reports.html.But despite the guidance given by the report, the process of selecting the right tools is still a bewildering exercise particularly as and they range in price from free to over £150,000 per annum. So where do you start

    Start with deciding what you want to measure

    Unless you want to get totally confused by the masses amount of data you can collect, start by deciding what it is you need to measure.

    These measurements should be based on your goals for using social media. Remember, social media is best used in conjunction with your other marcoms activities and not used in isolation. Therefore, refer back to your original marcoms goals and then work out how social media can most effectively achieve these goals by augmenting your other marketing and customer services programs.

    Resist being carried away by obvious metrics such as numbers of Facebook or Twitter fans or followers. These stats are good for the ego but have only on vague correlation to tangible goals that social media is great as realising. Goals such as increasing average order value, improving customer life time value, reaching more of your total addressable market, increasing customer satisfaction and reducing churn rate.

    Having decided on what you can achieve with social media then decide what metrics you need to measure the ROI.

    The next step is to start the process of selecting the most cost effective tools that can produce the data you need in easily produced and digestible management dashboard reports. But there are other considerations.

    Data integration is vital

    The unstructured data gleaned from social media will offer up great insight but will considerably more valuable if can be integrated with and correlated to your other data sets. Transactional data, web data and purchased research data that should be held in your CRM systems.

    Knowing who is saying what on social media, their propensity to buy, sentiment, advocacy and social capital or influence is invaluable for building ongoing engagement. But you also need to match that data with consumers buying patterns and market segment classifications. This is what data scientists have started to term as ‘Big Data’. This collection of data enables marketers to know how to better engage with consumers through personalised interactive content.

    Therefore, organisations that use CRM comprehensively need a social media monitoring system that integrates SocialCRM data with their CRM databases.

    Software vendors offer integrated tools

    A few technology vendors are starting to build this capability into their software. Notably Salesforce.com, a leader in CRM systems, has made a flurry of acquisitions to provide an integrated social system.

    Salesforce.com is tooling up to provide a complete social enterprise platform offering tools that will allow you to listen, gain insight, engage,  publish, advertise and measure social marketing programs http://www.salesforce.com/uk/solutions/.

    They have acquired Radian6 a leading social monitoring tool, Chatter an online employee collaboration system and Buddy Media. Buddy Media is used for social media content distribution and moderation, user engagement and measuring the reach of your content and the buzz it generates across the Blogosphere.

    Many other social media monitoring technology providers integrate operation capacity of CRM systems with their tools and services.  Ideya’s report has identified around 62 SMM tools providers that currently offer their own CRM or allow integration with other CRM technologies.

     

    Accessible and affordable

    The good news is that systems such as those provided by Salesforce.com and many others are provisioned as ‘software as a service’ (Saas). These services mean no IT hardware investment, systems implementation effort and problematic deployment issues and not least, no capital investment.

    Start simply

    Just get started by trying out a monitoring tool to get a feel of what it can do and use the above tips to plan your way forward.

    For those of you need to dig deeper into social media metrics I can’t recommend  enough reading Social Media Metrics by Jim Sterne. In the meantime consider the following 11 tips.

     

    11 points to work through

    1. Be clear about what you are intending to achieve by adopting social media and decide what you want to use a tool for.  For example, market insight and prediction, competitive monitoring, customer satisfaction and sentiment analysis,  market reach and influence,  building social capital, campaign measurement, influencer, conversation and community marketing.
    2. Set measurable social media goals against your core business objectives and prioritise them.
    3. Decide what the metrics you are going to use to measure your success.
    4. Don’t just measure numbers of Fans or Followers.
    5. Be clear about the main sources of data you want to monitor e.g. social networks, blogs, microblogs, social bookmarks, video and photosharing sites, news, duscussion boards and reviews, smartphones and geographic coverage.
    6. Do you need to merge social media data with CRM data? Make a list of the benefits this can bring to your marcoms programs because this is a bigish investment.
    7. Decide if you need your social media content distribution system to measure the reach and buzz generated by your content.
    8. Decide what management reports you need for different functions of your organisation – customers services, PR and marketing will need different dashboards.
    9. Be clear about what you can realistically do with the data to improve your marcoms initiatives.
    10. Make sure you have the people with the skills and time to use the insight reports to improve your marcoms.
    11. Seek advice from specialists in this field such as the author of this blog and start simple.

    .

    Paul Fennemore

    http://www.viapoint.co.uk

    paul.fennemore@viapoint.co.uk

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  • Paul Fennemore 12:07 on March 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , social media networks, ,   

    Don’t start a social media bush-fire with your brand 

    In days gone by most channels of marketing and communications could be controlled by the brand.  Marketers could determine what messages are conveyed, to whom, where and when ensuring their precious brand reputation is kept in-tact.

    Enter social media and a whole new tinder dry marketing environment. Power is being transferred to the consumer. They can refer, recommend, vote, score and comment on positively or negatively anything they feel or experience about a product or service.  And the big dose of fuel to the bush-fire comes from social media’s interactively, real-time capacity to broadcast messages with unlimited reach in compelling multi-media formats such as pictures and videos taken on the go from smartphones.

    Brands are being compelled to be more open, honest and transparent. Trying to hide or disguise issues on social networks with service quality, for example, is likely to fan the flames of discontent.

    In fear of a loss of control, many organisations are holding back on adopting social media either because they once had their hands burnt or someone else in their industry did. There are lots of examples.

    But there is a solution and let’s face it there has to be, no organisation can dig in and hope that the flames of social media will die down.  Unlike most marketing channels, social media initiatives call for a risk assessment. For most in marketing, risk assessment wasn’t covered in their marketing school curriculum.  Well time to learn a new skills and processes – social media marketing risk analysis.

    Social media risk assessment is about analysing the potential negative consequences of a marketing initiative or how to handle a flare up about your organisation.  If you already understand that marketing is a science and a lot of social science, then you will buy into the following few broad principles that need to be adhered to…………….

    1. Remember you are dealing with individuals now, not markets.
    2. Test social media initiatives on real people (not sample groups) by asking for their reaction before running. Gauge their reaction.
    3. Understand what is motivating users to participate in online social communities and think through the reactions you are likely to get – scenario plan.
    4. Check that your initiative builds ongoing ‘engagement’ not is not a traditional marketing ‘campaign’ as they don’t work.
    5. Check that you are being honest, open and transparent – or just go and hide somewhere.
    6. Never be corporate or official with your responses to negative posts.
    7. Assign skilled resources and technologies to monitor discourse.

    Making sure that the social media fires you ignite are setting people alight with enthusiasm and not inciting them to burn down the town requires new specialist skills and  risk assessment and damage limitation are two vital elements to successful social media marketing and communications.

    Paul Fennemore

    Managing Director Viapoint

    Viapoint – UK’s Leading Social Media Consultancy, Managed Services and Training Provider

    Researcher and Lecturer at Henley Business School and Oxford Brookes University

    paul.fennemore@viapoint.co.uk

    http://www.viapoint.co.uk

     
  • Paul Fennemore 12:50 on February 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , social media networks,   

    It’s time for corporates to stop playing with social media! 

    There are now enough examples and evidence to know what social media marketing strategies and tactics work and don’t work. Enough for organisations to move beyond the baby steps of adoption where about two thirds are in the UK are today.

    The Board of directors are the culprits

    The issue is that most organisations, particularly at board level, are still holding back their organisations by not at least gaining a fundamental understanding of the medium.  Nor, and perhaps as a result, or they recruiting the right calibre of skills into the roles of digital and new media.

    I have interviewed and worked with scores of organisations on their plans for social media and many have said they now want to make social media strategic. However, they put their hands up and say that the issue is that they don’t know what strategic means when it comes to the adoption of social media for marketing and communications. So I decided to help them by defining what strategic means.

    What does strategic mean?

    I have been able to define strategic by examining what companies are doing well and can point to great examples of success and examining what is holding other companies back. In this blog I will not mention any names mainly to protect the reputation of the laggards.

    Firstly, I can tell you that strategic does not mean employing a campaign manager or a creative marketing agency to take charge of your social media plan and running it. Nor does it just mean setting up Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+ or any other platform account, irrespective how funky your agency might make it look. And it also doesn’t mean overtly promoting or advertising your brand, products or services in online communities, you will drive members away in their droves if you do this.  However, I am compelled to say that most companies are still doing all three of these tactics with sometimes disastrous results or at best attracting a few passive ‘fans’ or ‘followers’. So what’s the strategic approach I here you cry!

    Well the bad news is that getting the best from social media is not straightforward and is resource intensive and demands a long term plan of action. But the good news is those companies who are finding how to go about using this new channel are getting some amazing results.  Below is a chart that I dare you to study that I produced.  I have identified eight business competencies that successful organisations are tackling to get social media working.

    Industry regulation is no reason not to use social media

    Levels of adoption do depend of the legislation that applies to different industry sectors. For example the financial services and pharmaceuticals sectors are regulated. But that hasn’t stopped those more ambitious organisations to use social media to great effect. For example, the Amex Open Forum online community for SME’s is held up as the benchmark for brand hosted social platforms (master-minded by a Viapoint Associate I should add). Whereas, I know of another credit card company who ban the use of all social networks and smart-phones only because it seems they lack know how.  Guess who is losing SME market share?

    Despite heavy regulation, Pfizer are using social media forums to help support, educate and enthuse young scientists and school kids that are looking to go into the medical profession. You see all it needs is the right approach and a framework against which social media can be implemented across an organisation to exploit the benefits and mitigate any risk.  Hopefully, my framework will help to take you on the right journey and starting now. Please feel free to contact me if you would like me to talk you through it.

    Social Media Maturity Model

    How to get social media working for corporates

     
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